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The Pulp Magazine Archive

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

The first "pulp" was Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy Magazine of 1896, about 135,000 words (192 pages) per issue on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no illustrations, not even on the cover. While the steam-powered printing press had been in widespread use for some time, enabling the boom in dime novels, prior to Munsey, no one had combined cheap printing, cheap paper and cheap authors in a package that provided affordable entertainment to working-class people. In six years Argosy went from a few thousand copies per month to over half a million.

Street & Smith were next on the market. A dime novel and boys' weekly publisher, they saw Argosy's success, and in 1903 launched The Popular Magazine, billed as the "biggest magazine in the world" by virtue of being two pages longer than Argosy. Due to differences in page layout, the magazine had substantially less text than Argosy. The Popular Magazine introduced color covers to pulp publishing. The magazine began to take off when, in 1905, the publishers acquired the rights to serialize Ayesha, by H. Rider Haggard, a sequel to his popular novel She. Haggard's Lost World genre influenced several key pulp writers, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy and Abraham Merritt. In 1907, the cover price rose to 15 cents and 30 pages were added to each issue; along with establishing a stable of authors for each magazine, this change proved successful and circulation began to approach that of Argosy. Street and Smith's next innovation was the introduction of specialized genre pulps, each magazine focusing on a genre such as detective stories, romance, etc.

At their peak of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue. The most successful pulp magazines were Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book and Short Stories described by some pulp historians as "The Big Four". Among the best-known other titles of this period were Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Flying Aces, Horror Stories, Love Story Magazine, Marvel Tales, Oriental Stories, Planet Stories, Spicy Detective, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Unknown, Weird Tales and Western Story Magazine. Although pulp magazines were primarily a US phenomenon, there were also a number of British pulp magazines published between the Edwardian era and World War Two. Notable UK pulps included Pall Mall Magazine, The Novel Magazine, Cassell's Magazine, The Story-Teller, The Sovereign Magazine, Hutchinson's Adventure-Story and Hutchinson's Mystery-Story. The German fantasy magazine Der Orchideengarten had a similar format to American pulp magazines, in that it was printed on rough pulp paper and heavily illustrated.

The Second World War paper shortages had a serious impact on pulp production, starting a steady rise in costs and the decline of the pulps. Beginning with Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941, pulp magazines began to switch to digest size; smaller, thicker magazines. In 1949, Street & Smith closed most of their pulp magazines in order to move upmarket and produce slicks.[8] The pulp format declined from rising expenses, but even more due to the heavy competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel. In a more affluent post-war America, the price gap compared to slick magazines was far less significant. In the 1950s, Men's adventure magazines began to replace the pulp.

The 1957 liquidation of the American News Company, then the primary distributor of pulp magazines, has sometimes been taken as marking the end of the "pulp era"; by that date, many of the famous pulps of the previous generation, including Black Mask, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and Weird Tales, were defunct. Almost all of the few remaining pulp magazines are science fiction or mystery magazines now in formats similar to "digest size", such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The format is still in use for some lengthy serials, like the German science fiction weekly Perry Rhodan.

Over the course of their evolution, there were a huge number of pulp magazine titles; Harry Steeger of Popular Publications claimed that his company alone had published over 300, and at their peak they were publishing 42 titles per month. Many titles of course survived only briefly. While the most popular titles were monthly, many were bimonthly and some were quarterly. The collapse of the pulp industry changed the landscape of publishing because pulps were the single largest sales outlet for short stories. Combined with the decrease in slick magazine fiction markets, writers attempting to support themselves by creating fiction switched to novels and book-length anthologies of shorter pieces.

Pulp covers were printed in color on higher-quality (slick) paper. They were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero. Cover art played a major part in the marketing of pulp magazines. The early pulp magazines could boast covers by some distinguished American artists; The Popular Magazine had covers by N.C. Wyeth, and Edgar Franklin Wittmack contributed cover art to Argosy and Short Stories. Later, many artists specialized in creating covers mainly for the pulps; a number of the most successful cover artists became as popular as the authors featured on the interior pages. Among the most famous pulp artists were Walter Baumhofer, Earle K. Bergey, Margaret Brundage, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay, Earl Mayan, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Nick Eggenhofer, (who specialized in Western illustrations), Rudolph Belarski and Sidney Riesenberg. Covers were important enough to sales that sometimes they would be designed first; authors would then be shown the cover art and asked to write a story to match.

Later pulps began to feature interior illustrations, depicting elements of the stories. The drawings were printed in black ink on the same cream-colored paper used for the text, and had to use specific techniques to avoid blotting on the coarse texture of the cheap pulp. Thus, fine lines and heavy detail were usually not an option. Shading was by crosshatching or pointillism, and even that had to be limited and coarse. Usually the art was black lines on the paper's background, but Finlay and a few others did some work that was primarily white lines against large dark areas.

Another way pulps kept costs down was by paying authors less than other markets; thus many eminent authors started out in the pulps before they were successful enough to sell to better-paying markets, and similarly, well-known authors whose careers were slumping or who wanted a few quick dollars could bolster their income with sales to pulps. Additionally, some of the earlier pulps solicited stories from amateurs who were quite happy to see their words in print and could thus be paid token amounts. There were also career pulp writers, capable of turning out huge amounts of prose on a steady basis, often with the aid of dictation to stenographers, machines or typists. Before he became a novelist, Upton Sinclair was turning out at least 8,000 words per day seven days a week for the pulps, keeping two stenographers fully employed. Pulps would often have their authors use multiple pen names so that they could use multiple stories by the same person in one issue, or use a given author's stories in three or more successive issues, while still appearing to have varied content. One advantage pulps provided to authors was that they paid upon acceptance for material instead of on publication; since a story might be accepted months or even years before publication, to a working writer this was a crucial difference in cash flow.

Some pulp editors became known for cultivating good fiction and interesting features in their magazines. Preeminent pulp magazine editors included Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (Adventure), Robert H. Davis (All-Story Weekly), Harry E. Maule (Short Stories) Donald Kennicott (Blue Book), Joseph T. Shaw (Black Mask), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales, Oriental Stories), John W. Campbell (Astounding Science Fiction,Unknown) and Daisy Bacon (Love Story Magazine, Detective Story Magazine).

Description of this collection from Wikipedia.

Many issues of this collection come from a variety of anonymous contributors, as well as sites such as The Pulp Magazines Project and ThePulp.net.


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Title
Date Published
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Fantastic Universe v06n04 (1956 11) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v02n03 (1954 10) (JesseW dtsg0318)
Fantastic Universe v11n03 - 1959 - King-Size
Topics: hawley, meekle, armstrong, universe, fantastic, luanne, rose, miranda, talix, fantastic universe,...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 184
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v09n06 [1958-06].
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Digest, Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 199
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v10n03 [1958-09].
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Digest, Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe
Fantastic Universe v04n04 (1955 11) (Gorgon776)
Fantastic Universe v04n03 (1955-10.King-Size)
Topics: rafferty, universe, conan, girty, fantastic, barton, lars, amelia, franz, fantastic universe, john...
Fantastic Universe v10n02 (1958 08) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v08n06 (1957 12) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v07n06 (1957 06) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v05n03 (1956 04) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v07n01 (1957 01) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v04n02 (1955 09) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v02n01 (1954 07) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v06n02 (1956 09) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v11n02 (1959 03) (Missing ifc)
Fantastic Universe v11n05 (1959 09) (Missing ifc)
Fantastic Universe v05n04 (1956 05) (LennyS EXciter)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 121
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v10n01 (1958 07) SLiV
Fantastic Universe v01n01 (1953 06 07) (Gorgon776)
Fantastic Universe v04n05 (1955-12.King-Size)
Topics: floyd, conan, hadley, iyaka, universe, fantastic, furies, artaban, wilson, fantastic universe,...
Fantastic Universe v04n06 (1956 01) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v08n02 (1957 08) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v04n03 (1955 10) (Gorgon776)
Fantastic Universe v11n04 (1959 07) (LennyS EXciter)
Fantastic Universe v07n02 (1957 02) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v07n04 (1957 04) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v03n03 (1955 04) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v08n01 (1957 07) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v12n05 (1960-03.Great American)
Topics: tommy, hoffman, buck, isolde, garner, fantastic, universe, tion, aec, fantastic universe, field...
Fantastic Universe v04n01 King-Size (Aug 1955)
Topics: tulus, crocker, fantastic, universe, stevens, puitov, venus, stared, tion, fantastic universe, jeff...
Fantastic Universe v06n05 (1956 12) (Gorgon776&AT)
Fantastic Universe v12n01 (1959 11) (Gorgon776)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 431
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v01n01 (1953 06 07)
Fantastic Universe v04n01 (1955 08) (Gorgon776)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 491
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v01n02 (1953 08 09)
Fantastic Universe v02n02 (1954 09) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v05n05 (1956 06) (Gorgon776)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 202
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v03n02 [1955-03].
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Digest, Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 197
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v03n04 [1955-05].
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Digest, Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 241
favorite 0
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v12n03 [1960-01].
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Digest, Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 188
favorite 1
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v08n04 [1957-10].
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Digest, Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe
Fantastic Universe v01n05 (1954 03) (UnkSc cape1736)
Fantastic Universe v09n02 (1958 02) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v09n04 (1958 04) (slpn)
Fantastic Universe v12n04 (1960 02) (LennyS EXciter)
Fantastic Universe v12n05 (1960 03) (Gorgon776)
Fantastic Universe v11n06 (1959 10) (LennyS EXciter)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 1,096
favorite 2
comment 0
Fantastic Universe v01n01 (1953-06.King-Size)
Topics: lynne, harmon, rolf, universe, boyette, fantastic, maugham, mars, eddie, fantastic universe, mary...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 271
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fep • The Story Behind the Cover ... (Fantastic Universe December 1954) • essay by Frank Belknap Long 4 • Christmas on Mars • short story by Irving E. Cox, Jr. 18 • The Doll That Does Everything • short story by Richard Matheson 25 • The Laminated Woman • short story by Evelyn E. Smith 39 • Thank You, Member • short story by Roger Dee 47 • Talent for the Future • short story by John Christopher 56 • Down With the Tyrants • short story by Hal Ellson 65 • That for a...
Topics: Fantastic Universe, pulp, fiction, digest, sf, science fiction, 1954
Fantastic Universe v05n02 (1956 03) (Gorgon776&The Elves)
Fantastic Universe v02n06 (1955 01) (Gorgon776&The Elves)
Fantastic Universe v03n06 (1955 07) (Missing ifc 1) (ATLPM)
Fantastic Universe v09n01 (1958 01) (Gorgon776&The Elves)
Fantastic Universe v08n05 (1957 11) (Gorgon776&The Elves)
Please note: The story "The Soldier from the Stars" has been removed at the request of the Estate of Poul Anderson.
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by A. Bertram Chandler
texts
eye 745
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in October-November 1953 issue of Fantastic Universe magazine. Blurb: "A blond, a hunch, a madman’s song spell danger on Mars -- and uncover an alien cabal that may banish Man from the red planet."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by M. Bower
texts
eye 383
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in May 1957 issue of Fantastic Universe magazine. Blurb: "Most people suspected he was a spaceman -- even though his wife insisted he couldnât be!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Robert F. Young
texts
eye 536
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in December 1955 issue of Fantastic Universe magazine. Blurb: "A vision of beauty becomes a part of the mind that rejoices in its splendor. No wonder the Martian towers menaced Thorton’s sanity."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 154
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CONTENTS: Science Fiction Adventures (UK) [v2, #8, (May) 1959] ed. John Carnell (Nova Publications Ltd., 2/-, 116pp, digest, cover by Brian Lewis) 4 · Seed Of Violence · Jay Williams · nv Fantastic Universe November 1958; illustrated by Bert Lewis 48 · Don’t Cross A Telekine · Philip Stratford · nv; illustrated by Bert Lewis 86 · Cave Painting · George Chailey · ar 89 · Halfway House · Clifford C. Reed · nv; illustrated by Bert Lewis
Topics: Pulps, Pulp Magazines, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction Adventures
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 411
favorite 2
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CONTENTS: Dark Tides - Eric Frank Russell (Panther Books, 1963, 12/6, 128pp, pb) Introduction · in The Sin Of Hyacinth Peuch · nv Fantastic Fall 1952 With A Blunt Instrument · ss Unknown Worlds December 1941 A Matter Of Instinct · ss Astounding September 1938, as “Impulse” I’m A Stranger Here Myself · ss Other Worlds Science Stories March 1952 This One’s On Me · ss Nebula Science Fiction #4 1953 I Hear You Calling · ss Science-Fantasy #11 1954 Wisel · ss Amazing February 1942,...
Topics: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Eric Frank Russell
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 317
favorite 0
comment 0
Nebula Science Fiction #011 [1954-12] ("All Star Issue"). CONTENTS: Nebula Science Fiction [#11, (December) 1954] ed. Peter Hamilton (Peter Hamilton, 2/-, 128pp, digest, cover by James Rattigan)         2 · Look Here... · Peter Hamilton · ed         3 · The Yupe · Charles Eric Maine · nv; illustrated by Martin Frew         27 · The Trespassers · Bob Shaw · ss; illustrated by Bob Clothier         33 · Boomerang · Eric Frank Russell · ss Fantastic...
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Science Fiction, Scotland, E. C. Tubb, Bob Shaw, Charles Eric Maine, Eric...